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Social Networks. Systems Reading Group Jay Chen 10/25/06. Social Relationships. Psychologists have studied how communication context changes social relationships Social relationships maintained through different media grow at different rates and to different depths

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Social Networks

Systems Reading Group

Jay Chen


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Social Relationships

  • Psychologists have studied how communication context changes social relationships

  • Social relationships maintained through different media grow at different rates and to different depths

  • No clear consensus as to whether one modality is better than another (email vs phone etc)

  • However, they do know of some correlations…

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Ability to Build and Maintain Relationships Related to…

  • Cost

  • Geographic distance

  • Time spent

  • Synchrony vs. asynchrony

  • Awareness

  • Media richness

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Why the Internet is an Interesting Medium for Social Relationships

  • The Internet is powerful because it bridges distance at a low cost

  • When people first meet online they tend to “like” each other more

  • Less stressful than face-to-face meeting

  • Superficialities aside people focus on communicating their “selves”

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Social Networks Relationships

  • Not a new concept, (6 degrees of separation)

  • People typically maintain 10-20 close relationships among thousands of acquaintances

  • Metcalf’s Law – value of a network increases n2 to # of participants

    • Not exactly, but in theory.

    • Dependent upon interaction model

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Social Networks on the Internet Relationships

  • Not a new concept

    • BBS/Usenet

    • Web/Email

    • Chat / Video conferencing

  • What is “new” are

    • “Weblogs” or “blogs”

    • Social Networking Websites

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Why Are Social Networks All the Buzz Now? Relationships

  • As we move forward and technology provides improvements in:

    • Awareness: You not only know who your friends are, but who their friends are

    • Media richness: Voice, video, music

  • All of these contribute to making social networks online a mirror of people’s “real life” relationships

  • Growth of popular social network sites is very fast (Myspace 200,000 new users a day)

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Social Network Site’ Hype Relationships

  • Maintain relationships with your friends

  • Form new relationships with people of similar interest

  • Find prospective employers/employees

  • Keep up to date on popular news or media

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Amalgamation of Technology Relationships

  • Newest incarnation of social networking sites attempt to subsume:

    • File sharing (photos, music, videos)

      • MySpace, Xanga, Youtube

    • Blogging / Video Blogs

      • Xanga / YouTube

    • Chat / Vchat

      • Instant Messaging (AIM/MSN)

    • Self Publishing / broadcast

      • Youtube

    • Search engines / web portals

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File sharing Relationships

  • p2p is the “newest” big thing in file sharing

  • Malicious users with fake or corrupted files is a problem

  • Research devoted to leveraging social networks to do collaborative filtering on bad files

  • File sharing on social networks means collaborative filtering of bad files

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Issues w/Social Networks Relationships

  • Parents & Govt. banning MySpace due to the bad rep

    • Kids subjected to obscene or unlawful sexual advances

    • 98% of K-12 schools already filtering out Myspace

  • The popular banned sites lose visitors that move to the less popular ones

  • Too many choices to choose from

  • Revenue stream beyond advertisements

  • Security & Privacy Issues

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Security & Privacy Issues Relationships

  • Recent malware exploiting social networks

    • Malicious Banner ads

    • Adware

    • Phishing attacks’

    • Customizable scripts

  • Facebook’s controversial decision to make visible relationship actions to entire social group

  • Everyone reading everyone’s shared information

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Role of Systems Designers Relationships

  • Building these social networks faces the same problems we often have in building large-scale systems

    • Scalability

    • Security

    • Usability

  • The human factor involved means understanding a bit more about what people want, and how technology can provide these things

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End Relationships